how nannies can build relationships with the kids

As I sat down to write this article, I started to smile just thinking about all of the great relationships, as a nanny, I’ve been able to build with the families and kids I’ve been with over the years. Sometimes, people ask me how I can take care of kids without getting too attached. 

The truth is, I do get attached – super attached. 

In fact, right now, my throat tightens and my eyes water a bit thinking about our upcoming move away from the little guy I’ve been with for the past year.

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If anyone thinks that nannies don’t or shouldn’t get attached to the kids they care for, they’re wrong. Nannies should create special, unique bonds with every child and family they join. Developing a close relationship with your kids is essential as a caregiver. They need to feel they can trust you, confide in you, and make mistakes with you. 

Feeling secure will help them prosper. 

Children that feel safe, are willing to try new things and challenge themselves.

Your kids should feel loved. They should look forward to your visits. 

We’ve discussed how to be a nanny on this website, but now we’re going over how to be the best nanny you can be! Let’s go over the two main ways to build relationships with your kids:

  1. Tell them
  2. Show them

Tell them

Tell them you love them

  • Tell them how happy you are that you get to spend time with them. 
  • Tell them how much fun you have with them. 
  • Tell them when you miss them. 

I used to send short voice messages to the mom of my kids whenever I was thinking about them or wanted to wish them a good day at school on my days off. That way, they knew that I kept them top of mind. 

Don’t complain about the long days you spend with them or the work you have to do. 

It’s much harder to build relationships with negative people. 

Make them feel like you enjoy your time with them. Even on your more low key days, give them extra cuddles as a simple reminder that you care. 

Show them 

Cuddles, kisses and giving them attention are some of the obvious ways to show little ones how much you care. If you aren’t naturally affectionate or don’t feel comfortable showing such kids physical affection, that’s ok. By playing their favorite game a million times or listening to their favorite song on repeat, they will get how much you love them. 

You can also surprise them with special activities. Make their favorite treat while they’re napping to surprise them when they wake up. When you are doing something with one of them and the other comes over with some exciting news, pause with the first and listen attentively to the second. Linked here are a fun fossil science kit and a geodes making kit that all kiddos will love.

If you are caring for more than one kid at a time, try and remember to spend one-on-one time with each of them everyday. Both of them should feel that you care for them personally. They shouldn’t feel that you have favorites. 

Give each child you care for one-on-one time.

I used to have the younger one’s nap time be “special big kid” time with the oldest. He would get my undivided attention and we would do fun activities that we weren’t able to do with his younger sister. This was a time that I could show him that I knew what he liked to do. I was able to plan some pretty cool science experiments and find out more about what was going on in his life. 

For all those interested, I will be making a board on my Pinterest devoted to fun activity ideas!


Your goal should be to make your kids feel loved and happy. The education and general development accomplishments that you want for your kids will only come once the initial love and trust are established.

While you may have to remind yourself “I’m getting paid for this” on those harder days, your kids should be more than dollar signs. 

They are your paycheck, but they are also your partners. 

Just as much as you help them grow and learn about the world, they will teach you new perspectives. 

  • They will help you find things out about yourself
  • They remind you of the inner strength you have to maintain self-control and patience as they push every button
  • They bring out your creativity when problems arise
  • They remind you that it’s ok to be silly and dance like no one is watching
  • They will share the last cookie with you on your bad days

Kids are the best! 

They will help you become a better nanny. So, view them, not only as your paycheck, but as your partner in crime, cuddle bug and goofy dance partner all in one.

I’ve talked a lot about loving your kids. You may be wondering how you maintain a positive nannying relationship in a balanced way. How do you maintain love and positivity while discipling your little ones. I suggest sounding a little crazy. So, who’s mom ever talked about herself in third person?! 


Well, mine did. That, and the good-cop, bad-cop method is the inspiration behind, “Friend Rainey” and “Grown-up Rainey”. 

This isn’t something I normally explain to my kids in the beginning, but they tend to pick up on it after a while. The idea is pretty simple. “Friend Rainey” is my normal self: Fun-loving, playful, generally feels like a peer. On the other hand, “Grown-up Rainey” is the adult that enforces the rules, enacts time-outs and who can reach the toy prison on top of the fridge. 

I do normally explain the difference between the two “Raineys” and give them the option to choose which one they would like to see. They can show me with their actions, whether or not they are good listeners and nice sharers, which “Rainey” they want to deal with the situation at hand. 

It’s usually not until the first time I have to use “the mom voice” that I explain the difference between “Friend Rainey” and “Grown-up Rainey” to the kids. I simply explain, “I would love to continue being ‘Friend Rainey’ and playing nicely, but if [they] can’t be good listeners, ‘Grown-up Rainey’ will have to come out and nobody wants that.” It’s really as easy as that. 

I also associate “Grown-up Rainey” with other “grown-up” tasks like using the stove, butcher knives or setting up the tablet or tv for screen time. So, the “grown-up” version of yourself doesn’t have to only have consequences associated with it. You can connect anything that requires grown-up help or supervision in the house your work in. 

The kids slowly start associating rules, discipline, consequences and other adult behaviors with “Grown-up Rainey”. This way, I can be there fun-loving playmate without losing respect and the clear boundaries of who’s in charge. That’s just one way that works, especially for toddlers and primary school aged children. 

I will be releasing an article that goes more in depth with disciplinary methods I use as the nanny. Keep an eye out for my article next Friday and follow me on social media for more nanny tips and tidbits. 

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